During the course of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rey finds an exhiled Luke on Achh-to in order to motivate him to train her and help the Resistance.

At first Luke refuses and he vaguely explains to Rey,

Luke Skywalker: I've seen this raw strength only once before. It didn't scare me enough then. It does now.

The bigger revelation for the rest of film is about discovering a key event in fully turning Ben Solo to the dark side, as Luke nearly caves into killing his nephew, before he stops himself, but in Ben's eyes, it was too late.

It seemed like in the context of the film, given Rey & Kylo Ren's ongoing connection and force bond, that Luke was referring to Ben Solo/Kylo Ren in being the other person with "raw strength".

But in light of the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker and the alleged return of

Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine,

I was wondering if Luke was really referring to Ben, or if it was perhaps this other character or someone else entirely?

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    If it was the second person it would mean that we will soon see remake of Return Of The Jedi where Luke says- "I'm not scared of you, you dry plum, Thanos wannabe". Raw means unpolished. And Palpie was very very very polished and well trained. Dec 17, 2019 at 14:42
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    Temporarily removed theriseofskywalker pending retagging to correct format the-rise-of-skywalker
    – Paulie_D
    Dec 17, 2019 at 14:45
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    The tag is not necessary anyway since the question really isn't about The Rise of Skywalker at all, rather than using the film's mere existence and enigma as a reason to discuss something said in The Last Jedi. For all we know, as soon as we watch the former, we might realize it has zero to do with the question.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 17, 2019 at 15:15
  • @NapoleonWilson I wasn't sure if I should include both, since the potential character may not appear in this film, but the next?! Dec 17, 2019 at 16:49
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    Or not at all. ;-)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 17, 2019 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


Luke isn't referring to experienced Force-wielding power, as Rey has little to none right now. It doesn't make sense that he's comparing Rey to an "old school" Force wielder (i.e. those that were already experienced when Luke started).

Luke is talking about potential. As far as we know, he only observed two Jedi in training, and that's Kylo and Rey. Arguably he observed a third, i.e. himself.

You could argue that Luke's referring to his own potential, but it seems much more likely that he's referring to Kylo due to him going to the Dark Side. Especially given that the movie focuses on Luke having trained Kylo and severely regretting it.

The entire point of him refusing to train Rey is that he's afraid to have the Kylo thing happen all over again, which makes sense why he says:

It didn't scare me enough then [when I trained Kylo]. It does now [that you're asking to be trained, after what happened with Kylo].

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    "As far as we know, he only observed two Jedi in training, and that's Kylo and Rey." Didn't he have other students that he was training at the same time as Ben/Kylo, that Kylo killed when he "betrayed" Luke? Dec 17, 2019 at 15:56
  • @AnthonyGrist Well technically we don't know for sure that he ever personally looked at any other the other students while they were training, but it's a pretty good assumption. Dec 17, 2019 at 16:49
  • I don't recall the context exclusively referring to "training" as much as it does the "raw strength". Unless it's clarified in a novel somewhere, he doesn't actually refer to training at all, just that her raw strength is the reason why he doesn't want to train, because the raw strength scares him. I mean in all honesty the other character I have spoiler tags on, could be the one he's referring to, considering Luke was powerless when facing this character. In addition he had several students. Some where killed by KR and we're now learning about the others in a new comic. Dec 17, 2019 at 16:54
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    I'm going to mark this as the answer, because as it turns out, I misquoted the line! I found the transcript and the line is actually, " I've seen this raw strength only once before in Ben Solo. It didn't scare me enough then. It does now." My bad. Dec 18, 2019 at 12:55
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    @DJSpicyDeluxe Luke explicitly mentions taking on multiple students when explaining to Rey what happened with Kylo -- "I took him and a dozen students and began a training temple ... He had vanished with a handful of my students".
    – Charles
    Dec 20, 2019 at 17:17

Just re-watching the movie, and the full line is:

Luke Skywalker: I've seen this raw strength only once before, in Ben Solo. It didn't scare me enough then. It does now.

So, yes, he's talking about Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.

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